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March 1st - October 31st
9:00 am - 5:00 pm


505 Quayle Rd,
Victoria, BC V9E 2J7

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May 2019 E-News
Horticulture Centre of the Pacific

News from the Gardens
Tomato Day - May 18th 
The Victoria long weekend is traditionally the start of the planting season!
We have 14 varieties of tomatoes, herb and veggie starts as well as some edible flowers.
Check out our gift shop for West Coast seeds and gardening supplies.
Come early for the best selection!
2019 Picnic Nights 
The Gardens at HCP is extending our hours every second Wednesday night starting June 5 for our annual Picnic Nights. We encourage families and friends to come and enjoy a lovely picnic on our grounds. Admission is by donation between 5 and 8 pm. Bring your own dinner and find a bench or lawn to enjoy your meal while enjoying the sounds of a local musician. Local arts vendors will be onsite and you can browse through their selection of goods or visit the Master Gardener booth with your garden related questions. Our plant sale area has a lovely selection of plants propagated by our volunteers from our garden and you might find a leafy friend to take home with you.
If you would like to explore your creative talents during picnic night, consider signing up for a Paint and Picnic class with local artist Rose Cowles. The June theme is Simple Succulents. Classes run from 5:30pm - 7:30pm. No experience required, all levels welcome, but spaces are limited. Call us to register and hold your spot - 250 479 6162. This is a great activity to do as a group.
The event will be posted on Facebook, please share amongst your friends. We encourage you to bring your sketch book, guitar, outdoor games - it will be a wonderful evening. 
2019 Picnic Dates 
Wednesdays, 5pm - 8pm 
June 5
June 19
July 3
July 17
July 31
August 14
August 28
We love to reduce, reuse and recycle at the Gardens at HCP and would love to reuse your plastic plant trays for our plant sales! 
How To Make A Friend Feel Wonderful
By: Mariev Wade, HCP Volunteer
Simon A. Wade became President of the Board of HCP in 2010. Although by no means a gardener, he could identify the best grasses on a putting green, and he loved the beauty of nature. (Family joke: "How do you tell the difference between a rose and a primrose? His answer: one stands up tall, the other doesn't.")
His talent was in recognizing the talents and skills of others, and so he was a good fit, given the enormous work involved following the fire that destroyed the glasshouse. He took exceptional pride in the work of volunteers and staff at HCP. From international people of the business world and foreign dignitaries, to professional theatre people, all were treated to a personal tour of the "very special" Demonstration Gardens at HCP and The College.
A long-time friend from UVIC days, himself now an international businessman, was treated to one of Simon's enthusiastic tours and heard all about the tremendous work of "our 200 Volunteers " and was suitably impressed. Tim, hearing of Simon's diagnosis with pancreatic cancer, sent him a letter just after we learned the chemo was no longer effective. In Tim's letter was a brief note - including a generous personal cheque - instructing Simon to "use as you wish in 'your' gardens." There were quick consultations with the Board and the Head Gardener. A few days before he died, Simon chose the suggestion of establishing a memorial wreath garden with the hope that it would eventually produce foliage and supplies, and (not to be forgotten!) additional revenue for the community education wreath classes.
And that, fellow gardeners, is one wonderful way to validate a friend's efforts and say "Thanks for your work at The Gardens."
Follow-up to this article: The Wreath Making Garden is on the site of our old Ornamental Grass Garden. I have purchased a variety of conifers, and Phase 1 was planted two weeks ago by Jane and her group of PHC students. A huge thank you to everyone involved!
                                                                                                                         Linda Petite, Head Gardener
Plant Sale Recap     
by: Linda Petite, Head Gardener
It was another successful Spring Plant sale. On Saturday morning the real keeners were lined up at the gate with their lists in hand. We sold a lot of plants. I made several trips back and forth to restock the tables.
I want to thank all the volunteers, students , staff - and a special thank you to our Lead Propagator, Giles Collins, who keeps production up week after week!
Our Plant Sale area is open daily 9:00am - 5:00pm, and you do not have to pay admission to shop there.
Thank you all for supporting The Gardens at HCP!
Suggestion Request   
In the April eNews I asked for suggestions on what to do with the wooden planter boxes around the rotunda.  

People do read the eNews!I got lots of great ideas-thank you.
Stay tuned-you will see some changes there soon
- Linda Petite, Head Gardener 
We need a volunteer to come in once a week to maintain our equipment!  
For more information please contact Cheri at
Giles' Jottings    
It feels like this year has been rather unusual in the gardens. The snow and the wind made us think the season was going to get delayed, that plants might be so damaged that the beauties of summer could be ruined. And yet now it feels like everything is rebounding, proving us quite wrong and almost taking extra energy from the impact of those few wintery weeks.

Though I have now seen April here at the HCP several years in a row it does feel to me that it is a little special this year. Normally I notice a plant here and a plant there but what strikes me particularly at the moment is the appearance of 'carpets' of flowers. You know how sometimes, on a plane flight, you come up through a layer of clouds and suddenly you are above them, all that fluffy white layer spreading away beneath you in the sunshine. That's the feeling I keep being reminded of in the gardens.The April rains have stimulated a steady series of plants over the last weeks and they have given me a delicious sense of frothy floating layers. There have been white anemones ( Anemone canadensis ) covering the ground in the winter garden for some time. Then walking the trail over to the Conservation Park I noticed fawn lilies ( Erythronium spp. ) everywhere in the grass, more numerous surely than in previous years. Trilliums too have been striking. We do not have huge numbers, it's true, but those in the winter garden and in the bed beside the Golden Spruce remind me of how thickly they carpeted the roadsides where I lived in Quebec. And now this recent sunshine has encouraged the forget-me-nots  Myosotis arvensis ), especially in the edible beds beside the Plant Sale area. You could almost lie down in the sky-blue mattress they form.

In the same bed red orach  Atriplex hortensis) now seems to have decided it is going to form its own competing carpet which is perhaps not quite so appealing. But there you are, nature doesn't always offer precisely the colour schemes you find in the design magazines.

And now in some quiet spots in the winter garden small patches of sweet woodruff  Galium odoratum) are lifting their tiny white flowers above their own green carpet.
Thank-you for your generous support.
As a charity, HCP depends on the support and generosity of others to help us make a difference. The maintenance of our gardens is funded through our memberships as well as donations, sponsorships and grants, and income from our gardens through admissions, plant sales, events and weddings. Even though much of the creation and maintenance of the gardens has been carried out by teams of hardworking and cherished volunteers, there is still the large financial commitment of caring for 9 acres of curated gardens.
Your donations provide essential support and your generosity has helped us with the following:
  • Irrigation upgrade in the Children's Garden
  • Inner deer fencing
  • New wrought-iron front Gate
  • Equipment upgrades and maintenance
Thank-you so much for your continued support, we couldn't do it without you!
Visit to donate today.
Membership Reminder 
Check out that bright green 'Gardens at HCP' membership card to see if it has expired!

Memberships are a great value and include:
  • Free Admission all year to the Gardens
  • Guest passes and any additional guests for a discounted rate
  • 10% off on plants and purchases in the Gift Shop
  • Discounts on Community Education programs
  • Free Admission into the Arts & Music in the Gardens festival
  • 10% discounts at select plant centres throughout Victoria
  • Free admission to participating gardens in the American Horticultural Society 
  • Our monthly E-Newsletter
Membership at the Gardens at HCP supports youth programming, horticulture student development, supplies, plants for garden improvement, and our volunteers.

You can purchase your membership today by stopping in the office, calling 250-479-6162 or clicking here.    
Bottle Depot 
One more way to support The Gardens! We have an account at the Bottle Depot!
Our account name is: The Gardens at HCP
How to donate on this account :
The Gardens at HCP
Please advise the cashiers at the beginning of the transaction that you would like to donate the bottles onto our account. Please note: Your friends / family / co-workers etc who will be donating to this account must only reference this account by account name and not by any account numbers that may be found on some of the account transaction receipts. Each depot will have a different account number for your account. 
You can donate at any of the Bottle Depot Branches: 4261 Glanford Ave, 655 Queens Ave, 3961 Quadra St
'Picture of the Month'
This month's 'Picture of the Month' comes from Susan Mactney, a recent favourite of a resting mallard from the Japanese Gardens. 
Do you   have a great shot from your visit to the Gardens at HCP. Send your submission with a short description to  for an upcoming 'Picture of the Month'.   
Pacific Horticulture College
For more information on registration, please call the office 250-479-6162 or email
April was a full month of classes in Soils, Landscape Design, Plant ID, and Practical Skills. In addition, students started learning about Turfgrass Management, with a focus on spring turf requirements and working with turf equipment. In the Sustainable Food Production course, the students have been seeding and transplanting vegetables, as well as transplanting established fruit trees. Also, every Wednesday morning in April and May, students partner with HCP volunteers for Partnership Rotations where they work in volunteer curated gardens and learn from experienced and dedicated volunteers. Visit the HCP blog to read about Partnership Rotations from a student perspective.  
PHC is now accepting applications for the 2020 Landscape Horticulture Certificate program. Curious to know more? Join us for an information session on June 3rd!
Additionally, PHC is offering Part-Time Level 1 Apprenticeship training starting in August 2019. This program allows you to pursue Horticulture training while also working full-time. For more information on this program, please see our website.   
Coming up:
Part-Time Level 1 Apprenticeship Training August 7, 2019 to December 18, 2019
  •  Application deadline is July 22, 2019
PHC Information Session
  •  June 3, 2019 at 6 pm
  • Call HCP to Register
For more information on our programs, please contact Pacific Horticulture College at or call  250-479-6162 .
Youth Programs
Upcoming Workshops
Call to Register for Programs: 250-479-6162
Kid's Garden Club
Once a month we meet for seasonal gardening activities in our very own Junior Master Gardener Garden Plot! Our growing season starts early, and there is always lots to do!! When the weather is not quite ideal, we can work indoors to start seeds, learn to propagate plants, plan our home gardens, build trellising, and lots more. When the weather cooperates, we spend every minute creating garden beds, amending soil, mulching, planting, weeding, staking, and watering! These are great skills to get your garden enthusiast growing their own food at home. There are lots of take homes, from seeds to plants and harvests whenever available.
Club Dates: 9:30 am - 11:30 am  
Saturdays 2019 - June 1, Sept 7, Oct 5, Nov 2, Dec 7
Cost: $10/2 hr session
Ages: All ages welcome! Children under 5 need to be with a supervising/participating adult
Floral Design for Kids 
Challenge their creativity and inspire their love of flowers and all things grown with a fresh floral design class just for kids! This "make and take" class will teach them the fundamentals of basic floral design using several techniques. They will create a sweet take out box arrangement, utilizing a recyclable eco-friendly container and fresh local blooms and foliage. All materials are included.
Date:     Saturday, June 1 2019
Time:     1:00 pm - 2:30 pm
Fee:        $20/child
Age:        6+ years   
To register, please call: 250-479-6162
Join us for our bi-weekly story time designed for young children. Each program centres around a theme that explores subjects such as gardens, pollinators, vegetable growing and other environmental themes through stories and garden activities. Bring along your snack and I will provide the story blanket. Children under 5 must be accompanied by an adult. *See the next session of our Stories in the Shade summer story time beginning July 2019.
Dates:     Monday, May 13, May 27 and June 10
Time:     10:00 am - 11:00 am
Cost:      $5/child, free admission for an accompanying adult
Ages:      2+ years (designed for younger children, however, siblings are welcome)
For further information, please contact: 
Call to register: 250-479-6162
Upcoming Workshops
Willow Chair Workshop
with Andrew Kent
Join artisan Andrew Kent from The Willow Way for this full day workshop. In one day, with Andrew Kent's expert instruction, you can make and take home your own Bent Willow Rustic Chair. This is a great introduction to rustic building. Learn how to make a square frame from pieces of alder & work with different sizes of willow to create your chair. All tools will be provided.
Sunday, May 26  
9:00 am - 5:00 pm  
HCP Members $250
Non Members $275
To register call: 250-479-6162 
Cannabis Basics for the Home Grower 
with Jo Wyld
Learn the basics of growing Cannabis for personal use with college instructor, Jo Wyld. This workshop will cover cannabis species and strains, how cannabis is used, starting from seed or clone, considerations and methods for growing outdoors or indoors, common pests and disease, harvesting and relevant legislation. 

Saturday, May 18th
1:00 pm - 4:00 pm
HCP Members $60
Non Members $65
To register, call 250 479 6162
Herbal Medicine Making Workshop  
with Lily Fawn 
Herbalist, Lily Fawn, shares with you the secrets of medicinal medicine making. She will walk participants through the different types of medicinal infusions, oils, ointments, vinegars and the various ways to make them. This herbal workshop is designed seasonally in order to utilize fresh wild-gathered or herbs from the garden. This session will also offer an informative introduction to a materia medica of the herbs used in the class and receive a detailed handbook outlining all the information covered in class. You will get an opportunity for hands-­on participation in making your own herbal salve, vinegar and aromatherapy spray. Take your creation home! Herbal tea and Treats are complimentary during class time.

Saturday, June 1st
10:00 am - 12:00 pm
HCP Members $55
Non Members $65
To register, call 250 479 6162
Plant Drying & Mounting Workshop   
with Heidi Guest
Combine your love of art and plants in this 2 part workshop series. You will learn how to preserve plants by pressing and drying them, as well as the art of mounting your dried plant to create an actual scientific specimen that is also a beautiful piece of natural art.
Instructor Heidi Guest is a botanist and collections manager of the herbarium at the Royal British Columbia Museum. She has worked as an independent botanical consultant and taught plant identification labs at the University of Victoria for several years while also taking care of the UVic herbarium.

Saturdays, June 15th & 22nd
9:30 am - 12:30 pm
HCP Members $65
Non Members $75
To register, call 250 479 6162
Introduction to Garden Design  
with Patty Brown 
This 9-session course with PHC instructor Patty Brown is designed for the homeowner and for those with an interest in landscape design. Students will learn to draft and design a residential landscape plan to scale. Two field trips will be used to look at existing landscapes and plant choices. Topics covered will include design principles and processes, garden styles, site analysis, plants as design elements and landscape materials. For the practical side of this course it is ideal to have a project or area to design so to apply and practice each step.

Tuesday Classes:  
May 28, June 4, 11, 18, 25, July 9, 16
6:30pm - 9:00 pm: 
Saturday Field Trips:  
June 22, July 6
9:30am - 12:00pm 

HCP Members $250
Non-Members $295

To register, call 250 479 6162
Plant Identification and Culture 2019
with Diane Pierce
  Learn all about plants with Diane Pierce, expert gardener, designer, and writer. Diane will introduce you to 25 new plants in each session. You will learn Latin and common names, plant descriptions, cultural requirements, general maintenance, and landscape uses. This is an ongoing course and can be joined at any time, all year long, one Saturday a month.
 May 25, June 15 and July 20 
1:00 - 4:00 pm
Members $35.00 per session
or $350 for 12 sessions  
Non-Members $45.00 per session
or $450 for 12 sessions
To sign up, call 250-479-6162 or come into the office.

The Bookend
While perusing the bookshelves in our HCP library one day, I chanced upon some books that we might not ordinarily use as light bedtime reading. One of them is called "Breeding Ornamental Plants." The authors have advanced degrees in botany and plant breeding, so anything one might glean from a book that is written by such well qualified authors should certainly be worth the time spent with it!
Now most of us don't often have the time or patience to save seeds, much less engage in advanced activities such as cross pollinating. However, many of us do tend to be put off by the price of seeds these days and would like to know just a little more about propagating plants. Hit or miss has likely been our usual approach heretofore, but wouldn't it be great to be able to not just grow plants for little or no cost.... or also maybe develop something totally unique! Hey, we might become famous like Mr. Dahl (dahlias).
A book called "Sowing a Better Garden," written by John Kelly, a BBC presenter and columnist a few years ago, is the next one to be spotted during our casual scan. This book is full of interesting stuff, as would be expected from someone with the experience of having made gardening popular with his listeners and viewers.
But if one is specifically interested in growing flowers, then "Garden Flowers from Seed" is for you. This is an illustrated dictionary, so you not only get some information about quite a number of flowers but there are pictures - very helpful to newcomers to flower ID.
The books mentioned above just happened to be the first ones spotted when checking the subject of propagation. There are dozens of books that have been written describing the thrills and chills experienced by both new and experienced gardeners, all full of good ideas - and cautions!  
Reading and gardening make good companions; we encourage you to spend time with both!
The Gardens at HCP library is open:
9 am - 1 pm on Wednesdays
10 am - 1 pm on Saturdays
For more information please contact 
In case you missed last month's Bookend, you can find it here.